West Coast Eagles star Nic Naitanui is recovering well after surgery on his plantaris tendons and is on track to return later this season.
The Eagles ruckman finally succumbed to the injury in Round 12, which left him unable to train and confined to crutches following games.
But Naitanui only agreed to the surgical procedure after club doctors confirmed it would not spell an end to his 2016 campaign, with the 26-year-old prepared to play through the pain barrier.
Naitanui can already feel the benefits of going under the knife, telling Channel Seven it was the right move.
"There's only a certain amount of times you can stick a needle in to play games.
"We went down the path of going the conservative option but there was a chance I can still play again this year. That was my main focus.
"I said I could deal with the pain if it meant having surgery at the end of the year. But they said I'm still a chance to come back. I think it was the right decision to make", Naitanui said.
Naitanui is on the fast track to return. He was expected to miss two months on the sidelines, but is already ramping up training.
He hopes to begin running next week after he sees a specialist.
West Coast Eagles coach Adam Simpson said it was a tough decision to force their star to go under the knife, but feels it was the correct call.
"He was worried, and we were too (about) having an operation during the season, and how he would recover from that.
"But the initial stages, early stages, it's been a success. How he recovers in the next week or two will determine how quickly how he gets back. But I'd say he's on schedule, if not ahead, which we're really pleased about.
"He's got a big smile on his face. He's pain-free. So now it's about how he builds himself back up," said Simpson.